HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Daring Kathy captured the Honey Ryder Stakes at Gulfstream Park on May 10 with the speed and the authority of a filly with a big future on turf, drawing away to a convincing front running victory.
As eye-catching as her 1 1/16-mile turf romp may have been, the David Fawkes-trained filly’s performance has only looked better and better as her rivals returned to the races. Marnesia Wild Heir, who could get no closer than 3 ¾ lengths to Daring Kathy while finishing second, came back to win a starter optional claimer. Florida Sun, who finished a neck behind Marnesia Wild Heir in third, returned to capture an overnight stakes at Calder.
Due to the key-race factor as well as her stellar performance in the Honey Ryder, the daughter of Wildcat Heir is expected to be heavily favored to win her third straight race and fourth out of five lifetime race in Sunday’s $75,000 Starfish Bay, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Abdiel Jaen has the return mount. (Daring Kathy was also entered to run against colts in Saturday’s $75,000 English Channel but is being pointed to the filly stakes).
The Honey Ryder triumph served as a punctuation mark on her spectacular turf debut on March 29. Daring Kathy chased a solid pace before kicking in through the stretch to win by 1 ½ lengths, running 7 ½ furlongs in 1:27.07, just missing the course record of 1:26.91 held by Right One (2011).
The stunning performance came on the heels of Daring Kathy’s lone defeat, a dismal seventh-place finish over Calder’s main track.
“She didn’t like that surface at all. Elvis (Trujillo) came back and said she just spun her wheels,” Fawkes said. “She came back first time turf and ran huge. She ran just a tick off the track record.”
Daring Cathy debuted against Florida-bred fillies on the Gulfstream main track on Jan. 14, when she graduated by 4 ½ lengths in a maiden test.
“I wasn’t surprised at all,” Fawkes said. “I knew she was a nice horse.”
Daring Kathy’s subsequent exciting turf appearances have her trainer looking forward to a successful summer.
“There are stakes all over the country. I think she’s going to go to Saratoga,” Fawkes said. “I think she’s that good.”
The Donna Green-trained Marnesia Wild Heir, who closed from 11th and last to finish second in the Honey Ryder, has been entered for a rematch with Daring Kathy in the Starfish Bay. The daughter of Wildcat Heir closed from far back to win by a half-length over Arissa on May 31. The Manny Tortora-trained Arissa, who won at first asking on turf in a maiden claimer on March 16, finished 3 ¼ lengths clear of the third-place finisher in the May 31 starter optional claimer.
Garnacha, who is undefeated in two career starts on dirt, is scheduled to make her debut on grass in the Starfish Bay. The Efren Loza Jr.-trained daughter of Giant’s Causeway is out of La Dolce Vita, a multiple-stakes winner on turf who was awarded the victory by disqualification in the 2008 Suwannee River (G3) at Gulfstream in her final career start.
Miss Emelina, who finished second in her Gulfstream debut on May 20, is also scheduled to make her turf debut in the Starfish Bay. The Michael Trombetta-trained filly is by Big Brown, out of Actceptional, who finished off the board in her only career start on turf.
Second Base, who broke her maiden in her most recent start on May 4 on the main track, is also set to make her turf debut for trainer Marty Wolfson.
Dream Come True, a two-time winner on dirt who has finished on the board in two of three turf starts, and Tacones, who finished eighth in her turf debut in the recent Anka Germania Stakes, round out the field.